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A Case for FOSS Education

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My presentation at the Open Source Conference in Kimberley

My presentation at the Open Source Conference in Kimberley

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A Case for FOSS Education A Case for FOSS Education Presentation Transcript

  • Northern Cape FOSS Focus Month FOSS (in) Education and Training
      James Njenga University of the Western Cape
    23 August 2011
  • Outline
    • Introduction – about the presenter
    • FOSS Education
    • Open Educational Resources (OERs)
    • Impact of FOSS Education and OERs
    • Ideas worth exploring
  • Pandey, I. P. 2006. Literate lives across the digital divide, Computers and Composition 23:246–257 while the digital/electronic media allow me to beat the limits of time and place, they also implicate me in a new divide of global scale, limiting my practices only to one side of the divide although my literate behaviors on the digital front simultaneously shape and are shaped by those that lie clearly outside its purview
  •  
  • FOSS Education (1)
    • Definition
      • Theory and practices about on the concepts of FOSS, how to use and develop FOSS.
      • Transmitting all the knowledge , skills and values we have accumulated about FOSS to the masses.
    Best teachers plant knowledge seeds that grow forever
  • FOSS education (2)
    • Pertinent Questions:
      • Are we having literacy across divides – in addition to digital literacy (divides)?
      • How can we adopt new literacies and adapt them to our literacies? Are all literacies adaptable ?
      • How do our digital literacies shape and are shaped by our contemporary literacies? What are we doing with/to our indigenous knowledge?
    ?
  • FOSS Education (3)
    • Answers:
      • Computer literacies using FOSS:- ability to use a computer to perform common tasks.
        • Basics of operating system and office applications
        • Is there a predominant computing platform?
      • Higher skills/literacies – programming
        • Availability of source code
        • FOSS programming languages
        • FOSS development methodology
  • FOSS Education (4)
    • Answers
      • Building a knowledge commons
        • We have accumulated a lot of knowledge, that if we use the open source model to sharing it, we can solve almost all immediate problems that we are faced with.
      • Using FOSS tools in all this (digital literacies, high level computing skills, knowledge commons)
        • Educational packages
        • FOSS Software developement
        • Knowledge repositories
        • Open Sourcing knowledge
  • FOSS Education (5)
    • Computer literacy provides a way of learning new things. But how can it encompass other literacies?
    • Integration computer literacy into the school curriculum good, but would be more beneficial if it is adaptable for other literacies.
    • However, there are contexts we have to deal with:
      • Poverty, poor infrastructure development, and in-adequacy for computing resources including expertise.
  • Why FOSS Education (1)
    • Progressively lowering cost
    • Fostering freedom and openness
    • Improving on the reliability, performance and security
  • Why FOSS Education (2)
    • Building long-term capacty required for development
    • Encouraging local innovations
    • Learning from together/from each other
    • The Ubuntu spirit
  • Challenges
    • Lack of appropriate curriculum
      • Clearly defining curriculum
    • Lack of (teaching) resources
      • Providing appropriate resources
      • OER
      • Collaboration
  • Challenges (2)
    • Conflicting paradigms and literacies/divides
      • Acknowledging diversity, inclusiveness and participatory projects
    • Inadequate (programming) skills
      • Developing algorithmic thinking
      • Improving programiming skills
      • Mentored Internships
  • Open Education Resources
    • Following from the FOSS Concept, these are materials that are freely and publicly available for teaching, learning and research (under an open licence).
  •  
  • Potential impacts of FOSS and OER
    • Affordability -> economic advantage
    • Increased openness -> reduced complexity
    • Flexibility -> localisation, customisation
    • Scalability -> adaptability
    • Improved participation -> commons
    • Improved technology -> more developments
    • Educated mass -> learning by doing
  • Ideas worth exploring
    • Catch them when they are young.
      • Although Apple tried it and failed, Microsoft is now doing it in SA. Will it fail?
      • We need to start teaching our kids about open software:
        • Teach them computing skills, not programs
        • Differentiate between training and gaining an education
        • Educate the young mind for complexities and sophistication of the problem-solutions for the future
  • Ideas worth exploring (2)
    • Most widely scientific and security computer applications are open source software.
      • These are applications that we can use to improve the conditions of our populace
      • All we need is the open source approach to issues
  • Ideas worth exploring (3)
    • Walking with the teachers
      • In most rural communities in Africa, teachers are highly regarded either because of the influence they have on the young minds, or because they are seen as anchors to knowledge.
      • Having them in the FOSS education movement will increase the interest in FOSS, FOSS education
  • Ideas worth exploring (4)
    • Walking with the communities.
      • A participatory, all-inclusive approach to FOSS education would get us a long way.
        • Should be driven from the communities needs
        • But also, shaped by what we envisage the future to look like.
    • James Kariuki Njenga
    • Department of Information Systems
    • University of the Western Cape
    • Tel: 021 959 3243
    • Fax: 021 959 3522
    • Email: [email_address] , [email_address]
    • Twitter: @karitz
    • Skype: carice2